How Teachers Can Use Cognitive Theory in the Classroom

Written by sarah elizabeth
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How Teachers Can Use Cognitive Theory in the Classroom
A classroom weather calendar offers students additional and repeated information over time. (calendar with bow image by Photoeyes from

Cognitive theory was developed by Jean Piaget, a Swiss psychologist who made influential changes in the field of developmental psychology. The theory is associated with how children learn and build on their knowledge of the world and academics slowly over time. Ideal activities that incorporate cognitive theory in the classroom are ones that slowly add new ideas, expanding a child's sense of the subject.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Desk calendar
  • Paper laminate
  • Sticky tack
  • Cardboard
  • Construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Markers

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  1. 1

    Cover a desk calendar with paper laminate. Cut out cardboard weather shapes -- a sun, cloud, rain cloud, snow and sun with clouds; colour the shapes in with marker and cover them with paper laminate. Hang the calendar up on the wall in a place where everyone can easily access it and give each child a turn to stick the weather shape depicting the day's weather onto that day's square. Discuss the weather of the day, what kind of clothing is necessary for it and what kind of impact it has on the environment and the society.

  2. 2

    Assign each child a career, making sure that they are simple ideas such as policeman or doctor. Have the child explain to the class what this person does, what the importance of the job is and how it impacts society. Have the class discuss their thoughts and questions and have the children draw what someone with this career may look like on the job, something important they do and one interesting thing about the job.

  3. 3

    Discuss cause and reaction. Talk about the classroom rules and how they are used, what children feel when they are punished for not following them and why they have to follow them in the first place. Discuss why things in the world happen the way that they do, why you can't touch the hob, what it means to be responsible or what school is like when you are older.

Tips and warnings

  • Avoid overwhelming the children with more information at one time than they can retain.

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